Planning and carrying out your work

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We’ll assess your plans when you apply, and won’t permit work to start before we’ve given our consent. If we need to agree amendments to your design, it’s difficult to do so once you’ve begun work, and could cause delays on site.

We’ll need to carry out CCTV surveys before and after your work. A local authority building control officer will also inspect the work.

You can check with us to see whether one of our field engineers needs to make a site visit. We can resolve most issues by email or over the phone. If a visit is required, we can get someone out to you within a week.

Locating the sewer

There are several ways to do this:

  • Lift the nearest manhole to see which way the pipework runs. Please take care – covers are heavy and you may need help and/or specialist equipment.
  • Use dye to work out the flow of effluent.
  • Speak to a drainage specialist.
  • Obtain a copy of the sewer records online by visiting our Property Searches page.
  • View the public sewer record for free at our offices in Rose Kiln Court, Rose Kiln Lane, Reading RG2 0BY, or by visiting your local authority offices.

When will a build over not be permitted?

We won’t allow new detached properties to be built over a public sewer, and will instead require a sewer diversion.

We don’t permit manholes to be built over, due to the increased risk of flooding and odour issues from internal manholes. Wherever feasible, manholes should be removed and piped through. If it’s not possible to construct a manhole outside a building, we can discuss alternatives when we receive your application.

We also won’t allow pumping or rising mains, or trunk sewers, to be built over.

Diverting a sewer

Diverting a sewer may be possible under Section 185 of the Water Industry Act. In some cases, we may allow your own contractor to carry out this out, subject to us inspecting the completed work.

Apply to build over a sewer

You can find our online application form here:

Apply now